Sighing about The New Yorker but giving up

Wells Tower

Next March, Wells Tower will publish a book of short stories wuth FSG. So I will talk about Wells Tower now before it is too late.

I really like Wells Tower. I have come across maybe four short stories by Tower in the last five years. Fence. McSweeeney’s. A Public Space. This. His work seems to be leaking out very slowly.

Whenever a new New Yorker comes out, I open it up and check halway down the table of contents to see who wrote the story in the issue. Often it is Alice Munro. Quite often, really.

When that happens, I am just a little let down. Not because I dislike Alice Munro. Alice Munro is fine. Good, in fact. I eventually get around to reading the Alice Munro story, and often enjoy it. And now and again, I really enjoy it.

Sometimes it Yiyun Li, and that’s fine as well. Or Roddy Doyle. Or William Trevor. Or Stuart Dybek.

Lovely, one and all. But still, my heart sinks just a little.

This is why: I like short fiction because I like reading a lot of different people over shorter periods of time. I want more voices.

But, hell. Who am I to tell The New Yorker how to pick their fiction.

Hey! Last issue, Wells Tower. Go read it. Great stuff. (And then find “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.” It’s in that Ben Marcus Anchor Anthology.)

Here’s something to admire about the story: he manages the second person (a narrator who refers to “you” instead of “I” or “he”). A lot of people fuck that narrator up because they figure “you” means “you” instead of “you” means “me trying not to talk about me by pretending to talk about you.”

Author Spotlight / 26 Comments
November 10th, 2008 / 6:20 pm